Session 1: The Appalachian Highlands Meeting the Challenge

July 16th | 1pm ET / Noon CT

Welcome to our first session of the 2020 TVC Virtual Summit Series, as we discuss the Appalachian Highlands’ most important assets and plans within the region to promote more compelling stories to achieve greater economic growth.

Session Sponsor:

Session Co-Sponsors:

Convene & Welcome
Bill Tindal, TVC Board Chair & CNS Y-12 Co-Chair

Special Remarks
Senator Lamar Alexander, TVC Board Chair & CNS Y-12 Co-Chair
Zach Wamp, Former Congressman

Sponsor Remarks
Dr. Bill Greer, President, Milligan University

Keynote Adresses
Congressman Phil Roe, Tennessee’s 1st Congressional District
Tim Thomas, Appalachian Regional Commission Federal Co-Chairman

Dr. Bill Greer, President, Milligan University [Moderator]
Congressman Phil Roe, Tennessee’s 1st Congressional District
Tim Thomas, Appalachian Regional Commission Federal Co-Chairman
Dr. Brian Noland, President, East Tennessee State University
Gene Cossey, Director, Tri-Cities Airport
Dr. Mike Browder, CEO, Bristol Tennessee Essential Services

Remarks from Senator Lamar Alexander

Remarks from Zach Wamp

Session 1 Sponsor: Milligan University

In order to meet security guidelines set forth by several of our federal partners, the Tennessee Valley Corridor is using Webex Events to host the 2020 TVC Virtual Summit Series. The software has a few limitations that can hinder user experience. However, these can be overcome with a few simple tips and tricks. Review our Webex tips and tricks to learn the very best way to experience this year’s Virtual Summit.

Speaker Bios

ARC Federal Co-Chair

Tim Thomas was sworn in as the Appalachian Regional Commission’s twelfth federal co-chair on April 3, 2018. As federal co-chair, Thomas works directly with ARC’s 13 member governors, their state alternates and program managers, and a network of local development districts to continue creating economic opportunities in the Appalachian Region’s coal-impacted communities, support small business and entrepreneurial development in rural Appalachia, and address the Region’s opioid crisis.

Nominated by President Donald Trump in January 2018, Thomas has more than 20 years’ experience in public infrastructure, workforce training, and regulatory issues. He most recently served on U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell’s state staff from 2015 to 2018. In that role, Thomas fostered deep partnerships with state and local officials, community leaders, and constituent groups to support economic and community development initiatives. He was previously the director of external and regulatory affairs for Swift & Staley, a Kentucky-based maintenance, operations, and environmental services company that included federal and state agencies among its clients, such as the U.S. Departments of Energy and Agriculture.

During the administration of Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher, Thomas served in key roles in the state environmental and public protection cabinet, including that of federal facility coordinator, helping provide regulatory oversight of federal installations located in Kentucky. He then became the executive director of the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority, overseeing an $800 million portfolio of loans and grants supporting water, wastewater, and broadband development.

Thomas began his early career as a law clerk to the Kentucky Court of Appeals. He also served on Senator McConnell’s staff in the late 1990s, assisting local communities with project development through the federal appropriations process.

Thomas has a bachelor of science degree from Murray State University, and a law degree from the University of Louisville.

Phil Roe represents the First Congressional District of Tennessee. A resident of Washington County serving his sixth term in Congress, Phil has a strong work ethic and is committed to working on behalf of the First District, Tennessee and our nation. 

A native of Tennessee, Phil was born on July 21, 1945 in Clarksville. He earned a degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from Austin Peay State University in 1967 and went on to earn his Medical Degree from the University of Tennessee in 1970. Upon graduation, he served two years in the United States Army Medical Corps.

Congressman Roe is Ranking Member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and chaired the committee in the 115th Congress. Additionally, he serves on the House Education and Labor Committee. Previously, he was a member of the Joint Select Committee on Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans.

As a physician, Congressman Roe has become an active player in the effort to reform our nation’s health care system. He is the co-chair of the House GOP Doctors Caucus and a co-chair of the Congressional Academic Medicine Caucus. Dr. Roe previously served as the chair of the Republican Study Committee’s Health Care Task Force for three congresses and helped write a patient-centered, free-market alternative to the Affordable Care Act. 

Prior to serving in Congress, Phil served as the Mayor of Johnson City from 2007 to 2009 and Vice Mayor from 2003 to 2007. He ran a successful medical practice in Johnson City for 31 years, delivering close to 5,000 babies. Phil has three children – David C. Roe, John Roe, and Whitney Larkin – and is a proud grandfather. He and his wife Clarinda live in Jonesborough, and he is a member of Munsey United Methodist Church.

In 2016, the nation’s governors created the James Madison Award to recognize members of Congress who support federalism and the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guaranteeing states’ rights. The governors named Sen. Lamar Alexander as the first-ever recipient of the award for his work to fix No Child Left Behind. The new education law Alexander worked to pass was signed by the president in December 2015. The Wall Street Journal called it “the largest devolution of federal power to the states in a quarter century.”

In 2013, the National Conference of State Legislatures gave Sen. Alexander and three other senators its “Restoring the Balance” Award for protecting states’ rights, the first time in 10 years the organization gave this award to U.S. senators.

Alexander, a seventh-generation Tennessean born and raised in Maryville, was twice elected governor of Tennessee. He has always believed that in most cases the best decisions are made by those closest to the people. 

Today, Alexander chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

Alexander is also chairman of the Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee, where he works to boost funding for basic energy research and invest in our inland waterways and harbors.

Alexander was first elected to the Senate in 2002 and has been re-elected twice. His Republican colleagues elected him three times to be chairman of the Senate Republican Conference. 

He has previously served as president of the University of Tennessee and as U.S. Secretary of Education under George H.W. Bush.

He is a classical and country pianist and the author of seven books.

Lamar Alexander and his wife Honey have four children and nine grandchildren and a dog named Rufus. 

Former U.S. Congressman

One of the last in a generation of true bipartisans more interested in solutions than taking the credit, it’s no surprise that after serving 16 years in the U.S. Congress Zach Wamp is now a valuable advocate, board member and consultant for many of America’s great companies.

Serving clients as a connector and business development special operator has become Zach’s professional passion after politics. His impact has turned the dial for the some of the most disruptive technology firms in Silicon Valley, small companies aiming to make government work better, and several Fortune 500s aggressively pursuing new markets. 

Zach’s “hands-on” approach is grounded in relationships and ultimate trust with his clients. His style isn’t what you’d expect from a former Appropriations ranking member with friends spanning the globe; it’s much more like an old friend working to help you get where you’re going.

TVC Board Chair & CNS Y-12 Site Manager

Bill Tindal serves as the site manager at Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and has worked at Y-12 since 1995. He oversees daily operations at the plant to sustain a safe, secure, and effective nuclear deterrent. Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC, is the management and operating contractor for Y-12 as well as the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas.

Tindal brings 28 years of experience in highly hazardous nuclear facility operations to his current role, where he manages the daily integration of nearly 5,000 employees across the site to ensure that production deliverables meet requirements for safety, security, quality, schedule, and cost.

In addition to day-to-day operations, Tindal is responsible for overall site transformation efforts. He oversees a robust aging-facility management program to ensure continued, safe operations while managing long-term efforts to transform Y-12’s essential national assets and capabilities. He also has been instrumental in engaging the talented workforce in the site’s critical national security mission.

Before assuming his current role, Tindal served as manager of the production facilities department, manager of enriched uranium production, and, most recently, vice president of production. He led development of the facility operations plans and consolidated project list, a National Nuclear Security Administration–designated benchmark for risk-based infrastructure prioritization. He also has experience leading implementation of productivity improvement projects to optimize the use of personnel and facilitate production.

Tindal holds B.S. in nuclear engineering from The Pennsylvania State University and an M.S. in engineering management from the University of Tennessee.

President, Milligan University

William Burl Greer (Bill) was named the 15th president of Milligan College on March 18, 2011, and assumed office on July 16, 2011, following the retirement of Don Jeanes.

Greer previously served as vice president for institutional advancement at Milligan College. He also teaches occasionally as the J. Henry Kegley Professor of Economics and Business. Greer served for 12 years as a member of the college’s faculty and was the chair of the business area for many years.

Greer is a 1985 Milligan graduate and completed an MBA from East Tennessee State University. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Tennessee – Knoxville. His areas of academic interest include monetary/macroeconomic theory and the history of economic thought. His book “Ethics and Uncertainty” examined the role of uncertainty in economic theory as viewed from the contrasting perspectives of John Keynes and Frank Knight, a 1911 Milligan alumnus.

As founding director, Greer led the efforts to develop and establish the College’s Master of Business Administration program, a program built upon the philosophy of ethical decision making from a Christian perspective. Greer is also a member of the Messiah College International Business Institute faculty, teaching Comparative Economics in Eastern and Western Europe as part of the Institute’s summer program. Greer’s prior experience includes positions with a large food processor (Pet Dairy/Land-O-Sun Dairies) and an appliance motor manufacturer (Morrill Motors).

Greer has served on numerous corporate and community boards, including Interfaith Hospitality Network of Greater Johnson City, Washington County United Way Allocations Committee, Johnson City National Little League, the QUEST Foundation of Washington County, and the Johnson City Federal Credit Union. Currently, he is a member of the board of directors of Bank of Tennessee and the Johnson City-Jonesborough-Washington County Chamber of Commerce. He is the chair of the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association board of directors and is the president of the Tennessee College Association. He is also a member of the Johnson City Rotary Club.

Present and past professional memberships include the American Economic Association, the Association of Christian Economists, the Christian Business Faculty Association, and the Association of Fundraising Professionals. In 2004 he received the Sam Jack Hyder QED Award for outstanding service to Milligan College and the Faculty Appreciation Award in both 1999 and 2010. Greer is active in his church, having served as an Elder at Grandview Christian Church since 1998. He and his wife, Edwina, live in Johnson City, Tennessee, and have two sons, Logan and Jeremy. He is the son of Jack and Virginia Greer of Mountain City, Tennessee.

Director, Tri-Cities Airport

Gene Cossey is the Executive Director of the Tri Cities Airport Authority in Eastern Tennessee and has held positions in airport administration and operations at airports in Oregon, Kentucky, Iowa, Illinois, and Tennessee in a career spanning over thirty years.  Gene has been responsible for organizational development, strategic planning, business development, marketing, operations management, budgeting, information technology, human resource management, project management, and safety and security programs at both large and small airports.  

During his career, he has worked for city governments, ports, counties, authorities, and the University of Illinois.  Gene is deeply involved in developing solutions for problems facing the aviation industry and is passionate about improving education and learning within all parts of the profession.

President, East Tennessee State University

Dr. Brian Noland became the ninth president of East Tennessee State University in January 2012 after serving for six years as Chancellor of the West Virginia Higher Education System. 

He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in public policy studies, both from West Virginia University. He earned a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. 

Under his leadership, ETSU has moved into an era of construction that, in a compressed five-year window, may very well serve as the largest amount of projects and dollars spent on projects in the history of the institution. Past and current major projects include the construction of a performing arts center, a new football stadium, the creation of an interprofessional research and education center, and an extensive renovation to the D.P. Culp University Center.  The renovation of Lamb Hall, an academic building for health sciences programs, is also in the planning stages.

Dr. Noland has guided long-term visioning processes at the university as well as the creation of a new budget model for the institution and the establishment of a new ETSU brand.

In 2018, Dr. Noland was elected to the board of directors for the American Council on Education, which is the premier coordinating body for all higher education institutions in the United States and is represented by approximately 1,800 college and university presidents and the executives of related associations.   He represents the state of Tennessee on the American Association of State Colleges and University’s Council of State Representatives; is a board member of the Johnson City-Jonesborough-Washington County Chamber of Commerce as well as Launch Tennessee, a state-funded, nonprofit organization that works to grow new businesses in the state; and is a member of the Washington County Economic Development Council’s Industrial Development Board.

Dr. Noland also is an Institute of Higher Education fellow at the University of Georgia. He is married to Donna Fox Noland, of Greeneville, Tennessee. The couple has one son, Jackson.

CEO, Bristol Tennessee Essential Services

Michael Browder has served as CEO of Bristol Tennessee Essential Services (BTES) since 1977. He earned a Doctorate of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from East Tennessee State University (ETSU) Organizational Culture: How Changes Impact Attitudes Toward Job Satisfaction (Doctoral dissertation), a Master of Administrative Science degree from the University of Alabama Huntsville and a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering degree from Auburn University. He is a registered Professional Engineer in both Tennessee and Alabama.

Under Browder’s leadership, BTES expanded their product offerings in 2005 to add cable and Internet services and again in 2006 to add telephone services. BTES now offers the fastest Internet available in the United States with 10 Gigabits of service available to its customers. Additionally, BTES received the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence (TNCPE) Level 4 Excellence Award in 1994 and 2012.

Browder is the 2010 recipient of the TNCPE Ned R. McWherter Leadership Award and served on TNCPE’s Board of Directors from 1997-2009. He is also the 2013 recipient of the Bristol Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2015 Award of Honor from the ETSU National Alumni Association.

In addition to being a past chairman for the American Public Power Association (APPA), Browder served as a board member for nine years and was part of the Executive Director Search Committee that hired the previous CEO. Since 2003, he has served on the Nominations and Awards Committee which nominates all board members and officers of APPA. To honor his longtime commitment to the enhancement of the electric power industry, Browder has received several awards from APPA including the James D Donovan Individual Achievement Award, the Harold Kramer-John Preston Personal Service Award and the Alex Radin Distinguished Service Award.

Browder works closely with the Tennessee Valley Public Power Association and is active on several committees. Most notable is the Rates and Contracts Committee, where he has been a Chair since 1990. The committee works closely with the Tennessee Valley Authority to keep electric rates low for the valley customers. He has served on their Board of Directors several times since 1989.

Locally, Browder is very active in his community. He is a past Chairman of the Bristol Chamber of Commerce and has served on various committees for the Chamber. He is a past Chairman of the Board for Bristol Regional Medical Center (Wellmont) and helped to bring to fruition a new $111 million hospital serving as the Chairman of the Building Committee from the design phase through moving into the new facility. Browder served on the United Way of Bristol Board of Directors from 1977 until 2008. He served two terms as President as well as on other committees. He led their annual campaign as Campaign Chairman in 1979 and later went on to receive their Outstanding Volunteer Award in 1991. He has served on several boards for local schools including Bristol Tennessee School System, East Tennessee State University, King University and Northeast State Community College.

Browder has been a member of the Rotary Club of Bristol VA-TN since 1973. Offices he has held include President, Assistant Governor and District Membership Chairman. He is proud to have sponsored over 90 members into Rotary.

He and his wife, Linda, are very active in their church. Browder currently serves as Vice-Chairman of the Board of Deacons. He has previously served as Chairman of the Personnel Committee, Finance Committee and Pipe Organ Design, Fundraising and Purchasing Committee, as well as the Board of Administration. He has also been a Sunday School Teacher. Together he and Linda have three children and six grandchildren.

Make sure you are registered and join us for next week’s session:

Huntsville & Oak Ridge – Science & Technology in the TVC
Thursday, July 23rd | 1pm ET / Noon CT

A majority of the TVC’s annual $75 billion in federal investments are made in the historic communities of Huntsville and Oak Ridge.  Learn more about the federal missions based there and how they impact our nation and world. Featuring a live keynote address from NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

Thank you to our 2020 TVC Virtual Summit Sponsors:

A Special Thank You to the TVC Leadership Council:

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